Essaouira Gnaoua Festival celebrates 25th edition with fusion concerts

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As part of its 25th-anniversary program, the Essaouira Gnaoua and World Music Festival promises an exciting lineup from June 27 to 29, 2024. In addition to the opening night's original creation, festival-goers can look forward to five electrifying fusion concerts featuring talents from South Africa, Spain, the United States, France, Mali, and Senegal, all collaborating with Gnaoua maâlems (masters). This very concept of pairing Gnaoua music with diverse international artists is what established the festival as a global benchmark and an «open-air musical laboratory».

A press release from the organizers emphasizes the festival's commitment to innovation, welcoming «the most daring and improbable experiments, to the delight of music lovers and festival-goers in search of new sounds and a unique experience».

For this special anniversary edition, the stage will be graced by collaborations like maâlem Mohamed Kouyou with Rhani Krija, Guimba Kouyaté, Jon Grandcamp, Kike Perdomo, Mehdi ChaIb & HBS Trumpet (representing Morocco, Mali, Spain, and France). Maâlem Abdelmalek El Kadiri will also perform alongside Alune Wade (Morocco, Senegal).

The fusion concerts continue with Ablaye Cissoko and Mehdi Samoum (Senegal, Morocco) celebrating the kora and the rich musical heritages of gnaoua, houara, isemgan, reggada, and daqqa merrakchiya. Maâlem Tariq Aït Hmitti joins forces with BCUC (Morocco, South Africa), showcasing the new generation of Gnaoua artists who draw inspiration from Western rhythms like electro and African sounds fused with soul and punk rock.

Finally, maâlem Hamid El Kasri reunites with Bokanté (Morocco, USA) to explore the vibrant tapestry of Gnawa and Creole sounds. «In 2018, Hamid El Kasri opened the festival with a fusion performance alongside the renowned Brooklyn-based Jam Jazz band SnarkyPuppy», the organizers explain. «Michael League, SnarkyPuppy's musical director, is also the initiator of the Bokanté project, making this a special family reunion for the artists».

This 25th edition promises an unforgettable experience with over 400 artists performing across 53 concerts.

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